Even for people with just a passing interest in cars, it is fun and exciting to see a classic car on the road. The oldest clunkers one sees on a regular basis are usually not more than 20 years old. To keep a car roadworthy when it is old enough that it could run for president of the United States takes work, and therefore seeing a functional car with a genuine old school look is rare enough to be surprising. 

There is another reason, though, that classic car enthusiasts usually display the vehicles at events specifically for that purpose instead of just driving them down I-95 – namely, new cars are a lot safer than the automobiles that were on the road when your parents were taking drivers’ ed. In fact, compared to today’s cars, the coolest muscle cars and most elegant luxury sedans of the 1970s offered little protection against serious injuries in the event of a car accident.


Kevin Hart’s Classic Plymouth Barracuda: A Cautionary Tale

On September 1, actor and standup comedian Kevin Hart was injured in a collision while riding as a passenger in a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda he owned. It was a classic muscle car, and Hart had restored it to have identical features to the ones it had featured when it was first sold in 1970. From an aesthetic perspective, it was a wise choice, because the car was stunning to behold, but the retro custom modifications ended up being a legal liability for Hart.

Cars have changed a lot since the early 1970s, and most of those changes have given drivers and passengers better protection from severe injuries in car accidents. For example, Hart’s Barracuda did not have safety harnesses, only lap belts. 

The seatbelt, especially in its current incarnation as a safety harness that restrains both the upper and lower body, has prevented more traffic fatalities than any other safety feature of cars. In the early 1970s, cars only had lap belts, not safety harnesses; some had no seatbelts at all in the back seat.

Hart’s injuries in the accident were more severe than they would have been if he had been in a car with modern safety features. After his 10-day hospitalization, news outlets reported that Hart was considering suing the driver that caused the accident. Hart may also end up in court as a defendant in connection to the Barracuda accident, though. Since the car was his property, the two other people in it can sue him for negligence. They can argue that, as the car’s owner, he had a duty of care to maintain the car in a way that complies with current safety standards and that he could have prevented their injuries if he had done so.


Contact Dana & Dana About Car Accident Cases

Old school muscle cars are great until one is involved in an accident; after that, safety matters a lot more than looks. If you have been injured in an accident involving a classic car, you may be entitled to compensation.  Contact Dana & Dana, a personal injury law firm in Providence, Rhode Island to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit.